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I share a small room with my brother, and recently he got a desktop computer (he was using a laptop beforehand).

The room's layout is such that my table is right next to the door, while his table is on the other side of the room, directly opposite the door.

Since it was a new computer, he had to redownload all his games and programs. Initially he was using the computer's internal wifi card, and I suggested hooking up a LAN cable from outside temporarily to download his games quicker. I now regret it, because he now insists on leaving the LAN cable connected to his computer permanently.

This brings up a number of issues.

  • The LAN cable runs from the living room all the way to my room. It is not hooked to the wall or the ceiling, just trailed on the floor without being secured in any way. This is a tripping hazard for people walking in the corridor outside.
  • The cable is led into my room by jamming it through the gap between the sides of the door. More often than not, opening/closing the door will result in the door being jammed since it is not a flat LAN cable. We turn on the A/C at night and leave the door closed, so every time someone enters/exits the room the door gets jammed pretty often.

  • My work table is next to the door, and when I pull out my chair to sit down / get up, it runs over the LAN cable, and jams the wheels of the chair as well. This has forced me to sit in an awkward way where my chair and body is facing in a slant direction towards the table in order to avoid the cable, which is not very comfortable.

  • There is only one bedframe for one person to sleep, and every night at bedtime someone (usually me) has to move a mattress from another room into my room for the other person to sleep. The cables running from outside complicate this a little because I have to lift / toss it around to avoid snagging the cables. Previously I could simply push/drag it along the floor as there was nothing blocking the way.

I've tried repeatedly to convince him to unplug it and just use wifi, but he seems pretty damn adamant about it. Here's what I tried -

  • Ask multiple times, with increasing exasperation each time, "Please unplug the LAN cable and just use wifi.". He either says "later" nonchalantly or ignores me.

  • Reason with the reasons stated above to convince him. Ignored or retorted with "how do you even jam the door like that??"

  • Reason that his in game ping is not going to be affected by a noticeable amount. Not convinced.
  • Compromise with a suggestion - "If you really want a LAN cable, drill a hole in the wall and install a network switch, please." Ignored.

The only option I have left is just unplug the cable while he isn't home but I really fear this would lead to conflict. Since young he always had power over me and I really can't do anything if he remains stubborn about a particular issue. But this is one issue that is causing me considerable amounts of inconvenience that I can't just let it go.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Tycho's Nose, The Wraith, NVZ, JAD, Magisch Nov 25 '17 at 11:36

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    Just curious. Why did you choose to say roommate instead of brother for your title question? – Tycho's Nose Nov 19 '17 at 17:25
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    Do you have control of the AP, and how unethical do you want to be? :P – ArtOfCode Nov 19 '17 at 18:08
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    @ArtOfCode that's what I was going to ask. It would be regrettable if the wires inside the cable broke where it is usually jammed in the door frame... – peufeu Nov 19 '17 at 18:10
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    What's preventing you from drilling that hole yourself to eliminate this inconvenience? If you wish to avoid conflict, I think that's the easiest way to resolve this problem. – Vylix Nov 20 '17 at 7:35
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    "Reason that his in game ping is not going to be affected by a noticeable amount." Are you 100% sure of that? Because as a networker, I can tell you that you cannot be 100% sure of that. Just because it's working fine now for you, doesn't mean it will for him. His card could be slightly weaker than yours, he could be just far enough away for the signal to be degraded, etc. Wifi is, by nature, less reliable than a physical connection. Things can interfere, signal can degrade, you can be just out of range. If I were him, this reason alone would keep me on a physical link, and does! – Kendra Nov 21 '17 at 20:42
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This problem is not inconveniencing your brother, and he has shown to be disinclined to alter his behavior due to the inconvenience to you. It is possible that convincing him of the scope of the inconvenience on your part might change his mind (here is an excellent example of a problem that was resolved that way), but given what you've said so far it does not seem likely.

If your brother is only going to alter his behavior to his own benefit, your only options are to alter the situation so that it begins to inconvenience him, or remove his ability to maintain the status quo.

Either of those options is going to bring you into conflict with your brother, unless you can effect the change without your brother knowing that you caused it. StephenG suggested a way in which the current setup is already a potential inconvenience (a tripping hazard is also a yanking hazard) - making this potential inconvenience a reality may convince him. Or it might not, in which case a more direct confrontation may be needed.

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    OP could suddenly become very clumsy and constantly trip over the cable... The brother should then be concerned about the sudden jerk pulling on his new PC. – Forklift Nov 20 '17 at 18:30
  • @Forklift That's pretty much the nuclear solution, isn't it? – Fildor Nov 21 '17 at 8:06
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    It's an alteration that inconveniences the roommate. It's certainly not the most diplomatic approach. – Forklift Nov 21 '17 at 11:09
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So there are many great answers here. I want to point out another option which you can add to any of them: do nothing!

The cable is led into my room by jamming it through the gap between the sides of the door. More often than not, opening/closing the door will result in the door being jammed since it is not a flat LAN cable.

and

My work table is next to the door, and when I pull out my chair to sit down / get up, it runs over the LAN cable, and jams the wheels of the chair as well.

This LAN cable is not going to last forever. This kind of abuse damages the cables, eventually degrading signal quality. At some point, it will stop working.

I point this out because it means that while you are busy trying to find an amicable resolution to this issue, physics is going to take care of it eventually. This means you can be comfortable using less forceful approaches on your brother, without having to fear that he's going to use this LAN cable forever because you didn't push hard enough.

So stick to the nice friendly helpful approaches. Be nice. Nature will not be nice. You and nature can play good cop/bad cop =)

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    When you look where the LAN cable is plugged in, there is a flimsy little bit of plastic that holds it in place. That bit of plastic breaks rather easily, for example if you trip over the cable and pull it hard. Once it's broken, the cable doesn't stay permanently in the computer. The slightest pull, and it's out and the internet isn't working anymore. Of course you would never do that intentionally... – gnasher729 Nov 22 '17 at 0:25
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First of all an IT solution may be possible. Consider using a Powerline network adapter set.

I've used those myself and it may be an option in your case. They don't require any physical alteration to the property.

That said your situation is one that depends on your ages.

If either of you are minors then whether or not the cable is allowed is a decision that needs to be made by the relevant legal guardian(s) ( usually parents ). So in that case you present your case to the "authorities" and they decide.

If you are both adults then I'd suggest this :

The only option I have left is just unplug the cable while he isn't home but I really fear this would lead to conflict.

You can always plug it back in when he's back home. However this will eventually lead to conflict.

But sometimes the conflict is necessary. Avoiding it doesn't fix the problem and your brother seems to exploit this.

Since young he always had power over me and I really can't do anything if he remains stubborn about a particular issue.

Perhaps it's time you started being stubborn too. :-) He is just using your reluctance to confront him. Remember that this was supposed to be a temporary measure, and you are both past that now.

What will eventually happen, whether either of you wants it or not, is that someone will trip on this cable and his precious computer will likely get yanked violently in the process - this I've had happen myself.

So it's really in his interests to deal with this issue.

If this argument fails, then you have been reasonable and, honestly, I'd suggest you just take the cable out at the router end. It's a hazard and a considerable inconvenience and it was supposed to be temporary.

I'd suggest the Powerline is a potential compromise, but my gut feeling is that he'll refuse this.

If that happens then every time he puts in the cable, take it out at the router.

Yes, this may result in a bloody great row. Have it. I think you need to draw a line on this.

Remember that you can let him scream the place down - just take no notice. Just say calmly that you've explained the problems many times and as he won't act responsibly, then you'll have to keep doing this. Don't get involved in a major discussion, don't enter a debate. Tell him to find a solution that works for both of you or you'll be just as stubborn as he is about this.

This cable is not needed, it's just wanted. On the other hand the safety and inconvenience are issues that need fixing, not just "wants".

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    Good suggestion, but unfortunately I have tried Powerline Adapters in my house before and they perform extremely poorly. Some technician said it was something about the wiring in my house that led to excessive noise or something. – chesnutcase Nov 20 '17 at 5:21
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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Catija Nov 21 '17 at 2:32
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First of all, for this particular problem, you can find several other solutions (other answers cover that better than I could)

Second of all, if you want your him to do something about it, you're gonna have to make him understand that it's a really problem. You can do that by explaining in detail how and why it bothers you and how to solve it and ask him to solve it.

What seems to be happening thought is that he doesn't listen or take into account to your explanations. If that is the case, a confilct is kind of unavoidable. A conflict however, doesn't mean a fight. You need to muster some courage and be very firm about your position:

This bothers me, and you have plenty of other ways to get an internet connection without bothering me. If you don't do anything about it, I will simply unplug you so that it doesn't bother me anymore.

Now I know that confronting your older brother is a scary thing, however if you always bow down to him, he will always abuse of his power and not take your opinion in consideration. If you can stand your ground a few times, the next time such a situation arises, finding a solution together as equals will be much simpler.

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